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Posts Tagged ‘Samjhota Express

America-Pakistan-India Triangle

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Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, who ironically enjoys the reputation of being American ambassador to Pakistan, based in Washington, has recently quipped, “The most hated country in Pakistan is our top trading partner, top aid donor, top weapon supplier and top remittance source”.

Significant reason behind this anomaly is the snowballing India-US nexus at the cost of Pakistan. De-hyphenating of India-Pakistan in American strategic calculus has indeed created more problems for America and this region than it intended to resolve. Obsession to sponsor the rise of India as a major player on Asian geopolitical canvas has severely curtailed American leverage over India; Obama dare not pronounce ‘K’ for Kashmir once again!

Barrack Obama’s visit to India had left a negative impact on the whole region which has been reinforced by Hillary’s recent rhetoric. By prompting India to bite more than it could chew, America is well on its way to sow the seeds of perpetual destabilization of this region at the expense of China as well as India itself.

While in the past America played effective role to diffuse Pak-India tensions and did not allow the matters to degenerate into tactical showdown, it also winked its eye to allow India maintain strategic pressures through military deployments, diplomatic manoeuvres and resource squeezing.

Pakistan and America differ considerably on issues of vital interest to Pakistan; nuclear policy, energy acquisition from Iran and China, end game in Afghanistan, Kashmir conflict etc are some major areas of divergence. Most of these issues are intricately liked to India. Hence a Pakistan-India-America triangle has emerged; a sort of re-hyphenation in a crude form.

America retains a cunning balancing leverage between India and Pakistan; and uses the pressure points aptly to make Pakistan and India do American bidding.

Recently the US lawmakers have rejected the bill regarding stoppage of aid to Pakistan but have agreed to attach strings. Public opinion is gaining strength that stringed aid may be refused and to make up for the loss, Pakistan should proportionately enhance the transit fee on American supply containers and also impose transit fee on aircraft destined for Afghan war zone through Pakistan.

America frequently partners Indian effort in maintaining a high pitched tirade against Pakistan’s armed force and the ISI; this has scaled new heights since the cowardly Abbottabad attack. All guns are being directed against Pakistan. Political leadership is being spared of any wrong doing with a clear objective of creating a wedge between the political and military echelons of national leadership.

Timed with Hillary’s recent visit, Americans took a well calculated step to appease India by arresting Kashmiri American Council President, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai. Indian reaction was of joy. Arrest is a setback to the legitimate rights of the people of Kashmir, specially their struggle for self-determination. Pakistani government showed an angry response. Foreign office announced that “A demarche was made to the US embassy in Islamabad to register the concerns, in particular the slander campaign against Pakistan.”

To mitigate the defeat in Afghanistan, the US is working overtime to shift the blame for every wrong to Pakistan. To consolidate towards this end, America is all set to involve India in Afghanistan, militarily. While in India, Hillary Clinton sought to reassure India that the United States has no plan to cut and run when it comes to Afghanistan. Indeed Hillary was bluffing,

those familiar with Obama administration’s thinking are of the view that White House wants to be able to point to concrete achievements in the country in the run-up to 2012 elections, while wrapping things up in Afghanistan “at any cost”.

In the context of terrorism, India needs to understand that militants are well-organised from Somalia to Afghanistan and from Central Asian Republics to the Occupied Kashmir.

International security analysts are already predicting that India is on the brink of becoming a battle ground of these trans-national groups. Outreach of these elements is much broader than Pakistan’s logical capacity to handle them; even America is unable to contain them. Pakistan has already proposed setting up of SAARC police for pooling up regional resources for this purpose.

Hillary Clinton played another pressure card by projecting India as the leading power in Asia. This effort was launched to coax India into a proxy role to counterbalance China. Hillary called upon India to become a more assertive leader in Asia, in South-East Asia, the Pacific Rim, in Central Asia and Pacific Ocean.

The fact is that India is having a hard time holding its own in its immediate neighbourhood, as China is expanding its links with Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal. Hence, to expect India to match China in South-East Asia and the Pacific Rim, where China has built-in advantages, is a pipe dream. India will remain cautious while siding with Americans against the Chinese. It needs China’s nod to realise its aspiration for a permanent UNSC berth.

Under these settings, the fate of Pak-India foreign minister level talks was correctly pre-judged by the analysts of India and Pakistan. There was unanimity of opinion that parleys would remain at the cosmetic level, routines would be discussed and core issues would be sidestepped. Travel, trade, terrorism etc would be in forefront; water and Kashmir in the background.

Mumbai would be highlighted and ‘Samjhota Express’ would get a passing mention. Matters have moved the same way. Nevertheless, some functional dialogue process is always better than none.

In an upbeat assessment after their meeting, Indian Foreign Minister said ties were back “on the right track,” while Pakistani Foreign Minister spoke of a “new era” of cooperation. Nevertheless, there was little in the way of substantive agreements to back up the general mood of optimism. Joint statement was monotonous, envisaging a general bilateral effort to combat terrorism, increase trade and keep the peace dialogue going.

One must understand that now America is in the driving seat of Pak-India interactions; talks are likely to follow the pattern of ‘sound good solve nothing’. After all America has a long experience of sponsoring futile dialogue like process between Palestine and Israel. It remains for India and Pakistan not to get locked into a zero sum game. Both countries need to strengthen their bilateral institutions to absorb the sporadic crises and move on.

Quest for Peace – Aman ki Asha

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INDIA NEVER WITHOUT A MASK

A Mask for indiaIt is befuddling to see two faces of India; one face breathing fire and yearning to annihilate Pakistan, and the other singing melodious tunes of peace and friendship. One year before, Indian civil and military leaders were indulging in high pitch saber rattling.

Their strike formations had moved up into battle locations and fighter jets had scrambled to strike targets in AJK and Muredke. Indian media and public were up in arms beating war drums. Divorcing sanity and rationalism, Indian leadership accused Pakistan of its involvement in Mumbai attacks and charge-sheeted it without any shred of evidence. They had refused to listen to any explanation and spurned offer of joint investigation. Whatever one-sided evidence was provided to Pakistan was flimsy and fabricated. They got irritated when lies got exposed but USA and UK covered up their concoctions by fully backing them up and putting the entire blame on Pakistan. Their bellicosity has not died down to this date and they are still bent upon trying to coercively impose their will on Pakistan.

On 29 December, Indian army Chief Deepak Kapoor stoked embers of war for the second time in quick succession. No sooner this uncalled for jingoistic statement was made another equally puzzling move was made under the caption of Aman ki Asha (desire for peace). A seminar was organised in New Delhi jointly sponsored by India Times and Jang Group from 10-12 January to promote peace between two arch rivals. Notwithstanding the harmless and well-meaning title, timings of the same were rather odd since it does not fit into the vitiated atmosphere deliberately stoked by India. It is persistently inflating its defence budget and its armed forces are getting laced with latest art-of-weapons and its nuclear program is being radically expanded and upgraded. Added to it are its offensive designs and covert operations against Pakistan. It is in no mood to resolve disputes and ease tensions.

From the time India signed peace treaty with Pakistan in January 2004 and promised to resolve all disputes through composite dialogue, India has not moved an inch towards resolution of any dispute. Major disputes are Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, dams on rivers and water. Past master in foot dragging and making false promises, India kept buying time and under the garb of friendship deceived Pakistan by stabbing it in the back. Its intelligence agencies have been indulging in sabotage and subversion and supporting disruptive forces in Pakistan and making several regions turbulent. Even when RAW’s involvement in Balochistan, FATA and Swat came to light our leaders preferred to remain quiet so as not to antagonize India.

Taking our policy of appeasement as a sign of weakness, RAW and Mossad in consultation with CIA cooked up Mumbai drama. Indian political leaders and media upped the ante and held Pakistan squarely responsible for the carnage without a shred of evidence. Their mentors in USA and UK lent credence to their false claims. The incident planned in a shoddy manner backfired and prestige of shining India got badly bruised. Indian public termed it as an intelligence failure. Intelligence agencies, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Mumbai security apparatus as well as Army were censured since a band of ten terrorists managed to breach the cordon and held the port city hostage for over 72 hours. Response of security forces was simply pathetic, resulting in lots of fatalities including foreigners and loss of face.

When Pakistan did not get over awed and held its ground firmly on diplomatic and military planes coolly, maturely and boldly, it nonplussed plot makers in India. As the dust settled down and glaring loopholes in the wicked plan started to prop up, it further perplexed them. It irritated them to find Pakistan objecting to their fake pieces of evidence and got panicky when their lies got exposed. Not knowing what to do, they were left with no other option but to keep crying as victims of terrorism and stubbornly clinging on to their ridiculous stance that India would not renew dialogue unless Pakistan acted upon its silly demands of punishing the culprits and dismantling terrorist networks. While expecting a lot from Pakistan, India refuse to admit that it is involved in subversive activities, well knowing that Pakistan has collected heap of evidence.

Hosts of steps taken by Pakistan were disregarded and like USA, it also started to stupidly sing the mantra of ‘do more’. This piggish stance has become all the more necessary to hide their embarrassment since Ajmal Kasab, the lone witness on which the whole case was cleverly spun by Indian agencies has begun to unravel truths while recoding his statement in the law court. He has categorically denied having killed anyone on 26/11 and revealed that he was kidnapped and put in jail much before the incident and on the day of occurrence he was taken to the site, shot and injured. Involvement of local terrorists aided by elements within Indian army and RAW in Samjhota Express and Malegaon acts of terror has already been proven.

In the backdrop of demonstrated Indian bellicosity, Aman ki Asha came as a surprise and left many in Pakistan gaping in wonder as to what to believe and what not to believe. Pro-Indian elements within Pakistan have however hailed the initiative. They have been ignoring Indian clandestine operations together with jingoism and have projected Indo-US theme that religious extremists and not India is the existential threat to security of Pakistan. They laugh and mock those who say that war on terror is US war and not our war. They also ignored Gen Kapoor’s offensive statements but jumped with excitement at the proposed seminar on Aman ki Asha and lauded the idea profusely. In their series of write ups they have projected it as a breakthrough and a step in the right direction towards Indo-Pak détente. None bothered to contemplate that no Indian leader has brought any change in his tone and hawkish style, or taken any confidence building measures (CBM) to ease up tension. List of invitees was prepared from among them.

Aman ki Asha is not meant to promote peace but to once again harm Pakistan through guile and deceit. It has been conceived and sponsored by RAW with devious motives. Real motive behind it is to sidestep real issues of conflict and once again indulge in nonsensical CBMs. It is an effort to hoodwink world comity and to again take Pakistan for a ride. India has somehow come to the conclusion that as a result of Indo-US-Israel-UK eight-year collective efforts, Pakistan has been sufficiently weakened from within and is now in dire strait. In their view the Islamists imbued with warrior spirit who remain ever ready to shed last drop of their blood to defend Pakistan have been antagonized and marginalized while sizeable numbers of soldiers pushed into the quicksand of war on terror for times to come. They feel that time is ripe to dictate terms either through military coercion or through peace mantra and extract maximum concessions. They want peace to be imposed on Indian terms which they perceive will be readily accepted by Pakistan. Pro-Indian lobbies particularly among ultra liberals in Pakistan will actively pursue their agenda.

If India is really interested in peace, it will have to first undo some of the blatant wrongs it inflicted upon Pakistan. It must immediately put an end to its intrusive and meddlesome activities in Pakistan, it should abide by Indus Basin Treaty of 1960 and stop stealing water and building dams on rivers flowing into Pakistan, abide by Indo-Pak agreement on Siachen inked in 1989, resolve Sir Creek issue on which already lot of ground has been covered, stop its vile propaganda against Pakistan, develop relations on the basis of trust, friendship, respect and equality. Above all, longstanding Kashmir dispute which is the main bone of contention should be resolved in accordance with UN Resolutions and pledges of Nehru.

Brig A Haroon Raja